The job isn’t over when a blogger publishes a blog post. Indeed, for some it has only just begun. Many bloggers will try to maximize the exposure for each post through submitting the post to various social media sites. I will be talking about social media a lot but before that there are also a number of other ways I promote my site and posts.
Write eye-catching titles!
The most important thing about your blog post is the post’s title. Not only does it’s HTML mark-up mean it contains most important words on the page search engine-wise, but also it will be the point of reference on the various social media sites. So write a title that people will want to click on.
Make them short, snappy, descriptive, interesting and … put numbers in them(!) Strange, but true. People click on posts with numbers in the titles. My most popular post through social media was 10 things I wish I had known about web designing 10 years ago. This got 7,000 visitors through StumbleUpon in only a few days and the visitors continued for weeks to come.
Optimize your site for search engines
A well optimized blog will mean the blog post being indexed by Google within a few hours of publishing. Try Googling the title of your post the next day – it should usually come up on the first page!
RSS and ping!
Use ping services to notify blog directories that you have published new content on your blog. WordPress is set up to automatically ping Pingomatic but you can add more blog directories to be pinged every time you publish – in the WordPress admin panel go Settings > Writing and at the bottom add directories in Update Services and Save Changes.
Visit and comment on other blogs within your community and niche. I don’t mean you should promote individual posts in other blogs! Write constructive comments on other blogs and you’ll develop win-win relationships with other bloggers. If you’ve written a particularly good post, you could even email bloggers with good reputations and give them the link to it.
Similar to above, participate in forums within your community and niche. There may even be a discussion where you could post a link to a specific blog post if it was absolutely pertinent. Otherwise, of course, put your blog link in your signature so it’s there every time you post on a forum.
Invite your users to subscribe to a mailing list and send newsletters to them regularly. This builds a community around you, develops a relationship between you and your readers and, if you inform them of some of your latest posts, it can drive more traffic to your site. Make sure each newsletter you write also contains valuable information that your readers would be interested in as well as links back to your best posts.
Put your blog link in your email signature. You may also want to put a link to the RSS feed, a newsletter sign up page and even links to your profile pages on your favorite social media sites.
I left the biggie until last! All of the above are important for getting your blog posts noticed. But social media can send literally thousands of visitors in a way that will put all the other techniques into shade.
However, I would urge against spending too much time with social media and to treat it with respect and caution – engage with the community, don’t just shamelessly promote your posts all the time.
And, don’t forget to add social media buttons to your posts to make it easy for people to bookmark them on all the various sites.
Timing: I tend to do this in the morning UK time as this means the posts will gathering popularity in Europe and then America as the day progresses. I also think it’s best to do it on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Here’s what I do:
- Twitter: I was slow to get going on Twitter but I have got much traffic from a tweet! Encourage people to follow you by adding your Twitter link on your blog and email signature. Tweet your latest posts as well as other good material in your niche. Feel free to follow me on Twitter.
- LinkedIn: I look on LinkedIn as the thinking person’s Facebook. The key to LinkedIn is joining groups. You may join as many as 50 groups. So join groups in your niche and you can send your link to all of them at once as a discussion. Again, I would urge caution here. Make sure the post is relevant to the group and interact with the group personally as well. Used correctly this can bring in loads of targeted traffic. Feel free to connect with me at LinkedIn.
- General social bookmarking sites: I have profiles on and regularly post to: StumbleUpon, Digg, Mixx, DZone, Reddit and Delicious which are some of the biggest.
- Niche social bookmarking sites: These sites can often be a better bet than the big boys. It’s easier to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond so at the moment I post to WebBlend which then offers further links to CypherBox, FaqPal, ZaBox, DesignBump and DesignFloat amongst others. Posting to one and following the links to others means you don’t have to fill in all the post’s info multiple times which can get tedious.
- Other social media sites: Of course it doesn’t finish there. As there is also FriendFeed, Google Buzz and Facebook. But I think that’s enough for now.
- Form alliances with other bloggers: I get by with a little help from my friends. Sometimes it only takes a few votes to secure an prominent position on a social bookmarking site. So you can say to other bloggers in your niche, “if you think it’s worthy, please vote for my post at such-and-such a site” and send them the link to make it easy. I have created the Designers’ Social Media Partnership for this purpose – any newcomers are most welcome!
I’m sure every blogger has a little routine of what they do. I would love to hear what anyone else does!